MerleFest expands lineup

By Derek Halsey (

Article Published: Feb. 21, 2013 | Modified: Feb. 21, 2013
MerleFest expands lineup

The Del McCoury Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Photos submitted

Need more music? Put it on the bill.

In a surprise move a little more than two months before the 26th annual MerleFest, the music festival has announced the addition of seven new acts on the bill.

Confirmed for the upcoming 2013 gathering, slated for April 25 to 28 in Wilkesboro, are Gov’t Mule, the Del McCoury Band with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Leon Russell, Della Mae, the Steep Canyon Rangers, the John Cowan Band and Delta Rae.

Let’s begin with the hall of famers. The legendary Leon Russell was voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, which, according to many, was years overdue. Russell has had his hand in some of the best rock music made over the last 50 years, having collaborated with everyone from George Harrison to Joe Cocker, from Willie Nelson to his recent tour with Elton John.

His own albums have ranged from classic American songbook fare, such as “A Song For You,” to now-classic rock songs, such as “Hummingbird” and “Delta Lady.” He has also explored country and bluegrass music, as well, touring and recording a live album with New Grass Revival in the 1980s.

In what will be a recreation of one of the most acclaimed tours from couple of years ago, the Del McCoury Band will once again join forces with the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans.

McCoury was voted into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
On their combined tour and subsequent album, the combination of the jazz from Preservation Hall with the bluegrass music of the Del McCoury Band has proved to be fun for audiences around the country. Both genres are improvisational in nature, and a clarinet jamming with a fiddle never sounded so good.

Rock band Gov’t Mule is the home outfit for Asheville native Warren Haynes, who also plays with the Allman Brothers Band. Considered one of the best guitarists in the rock and roll business, Haynes is no stranger to bluegrass or to Doc Watson, who was the host of MerleFest until his death last year. Haynes saw Watson perform multiple times as a teenager, while growing up in Western North Carolina.

Fresh off winning the 2013 Grammy Award for Bluegrass, the Steep Canyon Rangers will be making an appearance at MerleFest 2013, as will Newgrass legend John Cowan and the soulful Americana group, Delta Rae.

Also on the lineup is the all-female bluegrass band, Della Mae. The group is fast on the rise, following a well-received appearance at the 2012 Telluride Festival and a recent trip to Central Asia, where the band participated in the American Music Abroad Tour, bringing American roots music to places ranging from Pakistan to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

MerleFest returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College April 25 to 28, featuring more than 90 artists performing on 14 stages throughout the four days. For ticket information, as well as a complete lineup, visit

Additional Images

The Del McCoury Band and Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Photos submitted

Leon Russell

Gov't Mule

John Cowan Band

Delta Rae

Steep Canyon Rangers

Della Mae

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